Newark police searching for man who asked students to get into his van

Local News

NEWARK, OH (WCMH) — Newark police are searching for the driver of a van who kids say asked them to get into his vehicle.

According to the Newark Division of Police, at about 2:20 p.m. Monday officers were called to Ben Franklin School on the report of a suspicious person.

Students told their principal that a white male in his 50s, driving a white Chrysler Town & Country minivan approached them while they were in the playground area.

According to the students, the man asked them if they wanted to get in the van and go for a drive.

When the students told him no, the man drove from the area without further incident.

A staff member was able to snap a picture of the minivan as it drove away.

The driver is described as a heavier-set white male, with gray hair and a beard. He was wearing a white T-shirt.

Sgt. Doug Wells says the man’s actions could constitute attempted enticement.

“The fact they actually went on the grounds and asked a student or child to go with him somewhere and based off of what the students said – none of them knew him – that does make it an enticement,” Wells said.

Wells said the students and staff reacted appropriately.

“The fact that they reacted so quickly to tell him no we’re not going with him and then to immediately run and tell the staff what had happened … which allowed them to get out there and get a picture of that vehicle,” Wells said.

Police ask anyone with information on the man or the van to call the Newark Division of Police.

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